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For the purposes of these policies, a narrow channel is defined as a navigable water body that is less than 100 m (330 ft.) wide from shore to shore. These sections of the waterway and canal constitute more of a potential safety hazard to boaters and waterfront residents owing to the restricted space, short sight lines, concentrated boat traffic, and high flows. Among other impacts, the effects of noise, competing water recreational uses, and the visual impacts of waterfront development are often more problematic or noticeable in narrow channels. Some narrow channels already support a high (or increasing) level of waterfront development, while others so far remain areas of significant scenic (natural landscape) appeal.

Implications of in-water and shoreline works in narrow channels include:

  • Public safety concerns relating to competing recreational uses within a restricted portion of the waterbody;
  • Disturbance/destruction of cultural resources;
  • Accelerated erosion of shorelines as a result of concentrated recreational activity;
  • Loss of wetland habitat as a result of encroaching boat traffic;
  • Less habitat available for use by wildlife species (e.g. basking turtles), and increased vulnerability of animals that remain in the area to conflicts with people and boats (e.g. by reptiles, amphibians, waterfowl broods, etc.);
  • Further habitat fragmentation where wildlife travel corridors are seasonally disturbed;
  • Potential loss of scenic character as a result of inappropriate development of in-water and shoreline works.

Applications for these facilities in narrow channels are routinely approved provided that the applicable policies are respected and public safety is not comprimised.


  1. Requirements to ensure public safety will take priority over, and may thus limit the type, size, location or even presence of in-water or shoreline works.
  2. New facilities will normally not be approved where the natural channel is less than 30 m (100 ft.) wide or the channel is a man-made cut. 30 m (100 ft.) is the width of the navigation channel as defined in the Historic Canals Regulations.
  3. Where the natural channel is between 30 and 50 m (100 and 165 ft.) wide and there are no sharp curves or turns to obstruct sight lines, facilities may be allowed subject to review by Parks Canada including the results of a public safety assessment. Approval is also subject to the navigation channel not being located in proximity to the shoreline and provided there are no existing boating activities that might be significantly impacted by the installation of the facility.
  4. Facilities will normally be allowed where the narrow channel is between 50 and 100 m (165 and 330 ft.) wide, except where the navigation channel is located in close proximity to the shoreline and/or existing boating use patterns, and boater safety would be significantly impacted by the installation of the facility, and subject to the results of a public safety assessment if requested by Parks Canada.

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